The Red Pencil

By Andrea Davis Pinkney, Shane W. Evans (illustrator),

Book cover of The Red Pencil

Book description

Life in Amira's peaceful Sudanese village is shattered when Janjaweed attackers arrive, unleashing unspeakable horrors. After losing nearly everything, Amira needs to find the strength to make the long journey on foot to safety at a refugee camp. She begins to lose hope, until the gift of a simple red…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Red Pencil as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The Red Pencil is a beautifully written novel in verse that gives readers a heartbreaking view into the life of Amira, a twelve-year-old Sudanese girl whose life is turned upside down when her village is destroyed by the Janjaweed and she is forced into a refugee camp.

This story of trauma and loss also contains hope as Amira is given a pencil and notebook, which serve to remind her of dreams that extend beyond the grief and loss she is enduring. I believe novels in verse are a powerful vehicle for telling powerful, hard stories, and Pickney’s verse provides literal…

Amira is twelve and living in a small Sudanese village. Her biggest dream: to go to school. But then her home is shattered when the Janjaweed attack. These chapters around the attack capture the emotion of witnessing a traumatic event with such power—and all in a way children and adults can both appreciate. With what remains of her family, Amira takes to the road. Her dream of education has never been farther from reality…until a stranger gives her a red pencil. This book in verse is urgent and beautiful in its portrayal of displacement. 

At my first official event as…

From Alyssa's list on refugees.

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